VIDEO: Garden Gazpacho with Chef Wendy of Balasia/The Honey Underground

What a special treat!

One of my FAVORITE CHEFS OF ALL TIME, Chef Wendy Landiak, joined us at the Grow Indie Gardens while taping Episode 5 of our cooking show (online in a week!), to make a super-fresh gazpacho.

My new favorite memory of Wendy is now the image of her walking through the garden, cutting fresh veggies with her chef’s knife, and then lugging her Vitamix to a hay bale to set up her workspace.

It truly doesn’t get fresher than this, folks!

Garden Gazpacho with Wendy of Balasia + The Honey Underground

RECIPE for Garden Gazpacho

As you can see, nothing was meticulously measured, so here’s an idea of what went into the soup:

  • Fill a blender halfway with various tomatoes (rough chop large tomatoes into large chunks)
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves only
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) smoked salt and/or Himalayan pink salt (if you don’t have these, regular salt will do, but it may not be as exotic!)
  • 2-3 hot peppers (lemondrop pepper, jalapeno, or hot pepper of choice! Removing the seeds will cut down on the heat. Add these to taste. Maybe start with one if you’re wary of the heat!)
  • 1 and 1/2 bell peppers (red and/or green), rough chopped in chunks

Start blending on a low-medium speed until gazpacho is blended. Stop while it still maintains chunky texture! That’s all. 

Optional: Drizzled with good olive oil, torn pieces of stale bread as makeshift croutons, garnish with fresh basil, add olive oil and heat on the stove for a pasta sauce

Wendy Landiak of Balasia and The Honey Underground on Save the Kales! making Garden Gazpacho… IN the garden.

Wendy cut up a bell pepper to make some impromptu spoons. And hey – it’s even kid-approved!

You can find Wendy at the Balasia stand at Farmer’s Markets across the Lehigh Valley. And if you EVER have the chance to attend her supper club, The Honey Underground (named after a poetic way of describing carrots), you MUST. GO. You must.

Find out where Wendy’s going, what she’s making, and how you can get her food by following the FACEBOOK page, or checking out her WEBSITE. 

Did I stress how delicious her food is? (Here’s a post I made about The Honey Underground — pictures!) Organic, local, always vegan, fusion-food inspired by cuisines around the world. She also caters events, will do private cooking classes, and is knowledgable about food allergies and even Ayurvedic cooking.

BRUNCH IS BACK: Tummies Everywhere Rejoice

If we’ve ever met in real life, even just for a few minutes, I’ve probably talked about a few things: how delicious broccoli is when roasted; how do shar pei’s get so many wrinkles?; how much I love Sundays and why brunch is the best meal of the week.

Today I’m happy to tell you that the last part is happening, back with a vengeance.

If you live in the Lehigh Valley, you must know who Chef Wendy is. If you don’t, pay attention. Go get a pen and paper and write this down.

 Wendy is owner and executive chef of Balasia/The Honey Underground. The former used to be a brick and mortar business (in a fancy old victorian house in Emmaus, PA), and now shows up at every farmer’s market in the Valley to provide us with tasty lunches and take-home food. The latter is a supper club – a hip pseudo-restaurant that sets up on weekends in a firehall that gets transformed into a calming, candle-lit sit down eatery.

Well, we can all joins hands across America because Wendy is bringing back the best meal, on the best day. I can clearly only be talking about one thing: SUNDAY BRUNCH.

Sunday brunch was actually how I became familiar with Wendy and her food. A few years ago, we would wait all week for Sunday to approach so we could go to Balasia (then in Emmaus), sip coffees and organic juices and sparkling waters. Order meals that were so beautiful in presentation, the first time I saw one of Wendy’s dishes I exclaimed, “I feel like I’m eating a sculpture, a work of art”. 

Everything vegan, organic, local as often as possible… it was a meal to be savored, eaten slowly and shared by passing full forks across the table. It was so fun to bring out of town friends there, and even they would say things like, “I wish there was a place like this Brooklyn”.

 And let’s not forget to mention another culinary superstar on the scene who will also be a part of this meal, Misi from Diver Catering. She will make a fool of anyone who thinks vegan sushi is boring, flavorless or unappetizing. You can hire Misi for special orders and occasions, and also find her at the Steelstacks Farmers Market which is (new and!) every Saturday from Noon-4pm. Once again, proof that food can be, and most definitely is, art.

This upcoming brunch is a one-time event, though hopefully enough interest will mean more and more could happen in the future. I hope to see you there!

INFO ON HONEY UNDERGROUND/DIVER CATERING SUNDAY BRUNCH

  • Sunday, January 29th 2012
  • 11am – 2pm
  • RESERVATIONS ONLY
  • Call: 484.330.6405
  • Or respond on the FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Cost: $25.95 per entree; includes a healthy cocktail & hot coffee/tea
  • At the Honey Underground, Hereford PA (past Emmaus)
  • More info and directions on the site
You can view a detailed menu on the FACEBOOK event page.
AND enjoy live music from this year’s winner of the LV Acoustic Contest, Kwesi Kankam. (Exactly the sort of voice you want to hear at a meal like this!)
(Thanks Lehigh Valley Mirror for this video)